|Amy Nichols Peck going to work at the Drug Store.|
Family reunions were the annual event of my childhood. On Labor Day weekend, Mom would snap the whip, and all of us crammed into the old Ford and drove. The 'whip' was used to get my father to go; he hated all social events like this. He hated going to his own family’s reunion, so he truly despised going to Mom’s family reunion. He went; he knew life would be total misery if he didn’t.
|John and Mary Nichols, Milford, MI|
We always went to Pere Marquette Park along the Illinois River, close to Grafton, Illinois. The park was huge, and for a child, it was an unending adventure. There are so many stories to tell about that time of my life.
However, I will instead focus on a current family reunion, of sorts.
When my parents died, gleaning through boxes and boxes of stuff became a huge task. This may take years to do. I finally opened a gray suitcase that was from my own Grandma Amy, and found such crazy wonderful items.
|Art and Marion Nichols Fagan, little Barbara, Neva Stockings|
Grandma was a quilter, I knew that already. Here in this cheap suitcase was a stack of hand-stitched four-square blocks.
The fabric was summer-weight voile, which folded over my hand like silken strands. Neat regular stitches were woven along.
I can picture Grandma Amy sitting in her rocker, listening to a record, and stitching carefully.
Then there were the photos, handfuls of photos. Some were old, taken before the turn of the 20th century. Ladies with Gibson Girl hair styles, white high-necked blouses, and long black skirts, children in sailor suits with knee stockings and high button shoes—most of all they were all smiling, with their eyes and their mouths.
Some were posing in stiff awkward poses.
Older photos had trained them to not move no
My grandmother was laughing with her sisters,
posing and being silly. She was unlike the Grandma Amy I knew.
Looking at them, I almost was there with them, on the grass, leaning against the porch post, or catching fish. It was all so real, so familiar.
|Milford, Michigan where Grandma Amy grew|
A few have names on them. Most of them do not. But I see their eyes, and note a similarity with my siblings’ eyes. The shapes of their faces are like my family’s faces.
I am attending a photo family reunion. None of us know each other, but with a little work, I might find out who they were and who they are.
For details on Pere Marquette Park, go to: